Friday, January 25, 2008

Nonfictional Novels

I've always been amused that just about every time I've seen a literary agent or editor give advice to aspiring authors, one of the things she or he says is, "Don't say on your query letter that you are submitting a 'fictional novel.' It's just a novel. All novels are fiction." It baffles me that this is such a widespread problem that agents and editors across the board feel the need to address it. I mean, seriously, are there people out there who really say 'fictional novel'?

I don't know, but apparently there are people whose definition of novel is broader than mine. The opening credits to the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries say, "Based on the novel by Jim Carroll." Um, novel? The Basketball Diaries is literally a collection of diary entries written by Carroll as a teenaged heroin addict. I don't think you can even call that an autobiographical novel.

Memo to the people of the future who will be adapting my blog into a major motion picture: Please do not put in the credits "Based on the novel by Mr. Fob."

6 comments:

Mama said...

I'd like to see more epistles published. Ya hardly ever see a good epistle in Publisher's Weekly any more....

Mr. Fob said...

Now tell the truth, Mama. Do you read PW every week or are you bluffing? Cause I'm sure I saw an epistle listed just last week.

Mama said...

Weeeeeell, I used to read Publisher's Weekly when I was supposed to do original cataloging. But you're on to me - haven't read it lately. I've been too busy reading Harlequin Romances to peruse anything else. Is that wrong?

Mr. Fob said...

Well I've been too busy reading superhero comics to do much of anything else at all, so I can't really take the high ground on this one.

Th. said...

.

I have a theory about this. If I don't post about it soon, please remind me.

Mr. Fob said...

Okay. Remind me to remind you.